Illinois town votes to ban assault rifles, fine violators up to $1,000 per day

May 19, 2019

Bychristina capatidesCBS News

Illinois town votes to ban assault rifles, fine violators up to $1,000 per day

Dordon Brack aims a semi-automatic AR-15 that is for sale at Good Guys Guns & Range on Feb. 15, 2018 in Orem, Utah. An AR-15 was used in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.

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The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has once again ignited the public debate around assault rifles and large capacity magazines. And while no sweeping gun control laws have been enacted at the federal level, one town in Illinois is taking matters into its own hands.

The Chicago suburb of Deerfield, Illinois voted on Monday to ban the possession, sale, and manufacture of assault weapons and large capacity magazines to “increase the public’s sense of safety.” What’s more, CBS Chicago reports, anyone refusing to give up their banned firearm will be fined $1,000 a day until the weapon is handed over or removed from the town’s limits. 

The ordinance states, “The possession, manufacture and sale of assault weapons in the Village of Deerfield is not reasonably necessary to protect an individual’s right of self-defense or the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia.”

So, beginning June 13, banned assault weapons in Deerfield will include semiautomatic rifles with a fixed magazine and a capacity to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, shotguns with revolving cylinders, and conversion kits from which assault weapons can be assembled. And those are just a few of the firearm varieties banned. The list is long and includes all the following models or duplicates thereof: AK, AKM, AKS, AK-47, AK-74, ARM, MAK90, Misr, NHM 90, NHM 91, SA 85, SA 93, VEPR, AR-10, AR-15, Bushmaster XM15, Armalite M15, Olympic Arms PCR, AR70, Calico Liberty, Dragunov SVD Sniper Rifle, Dragunov SVU, Fabrique NationalFN/FAL, FN/LAR, FNC, Hi-Point Carbine, HK-91, Kel-Tec Sub Rifle, SAR-8, Sturm, Ruger Mini-14, and more.

Antique handguns that have been rendered permanently inoperable and weapons designed for Olympic target shooting events are exempt, as are retired police officers.

“We hope that our local decision helps spur state and national leaders to take steps to make our communities safer,” Deerfield Mayor Harriet Rosenthal said in a press release, after the ban on assault weapons passed unanimously.

The nearby suburb of Highland Park passed a similar ban in 2013, which was contested as unconstitutional by one of the city’s residents and the Illinois State Rifle Association. Ultimately, however, the ordinance was upheld in court.

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How Escaping A Small Town Changes Your Life

May 17, 2019

After growing up in a small town myself, I think it can sometimes be difficult to be the person you want to be while trying to please all of your small town fans. This is the first time in my life I’ve moved away from my small town with the intention to stay away for a very long time.

Why would I do something so silly?

Over the past two years, I realized how my hometown was stopping me from growing and accomplishing my dreams. Hanging out with friends generally became a gossip session because we were together so often and had nothing more to talk about. Neighbors knew where I was or who I was with. There was always some type of pressure to please everyone. There has always been someone to compare my life to or to be like.

Finally, I realized how detrimental this mentality was to my success.

After a series of events this year, I finally gathered the courage to pick up my life and move somewhere where I was a “no one.” Somewhere where I could start fresh and never have to worry about pleasing someone down the street. I can vouch that this has been the biggest change in my life and the best possible move I could have made.

So what things actually change?

1. You find out who your true friends are.

This one will shock you. Remember that person you used to go to dinner with or spent countless nights finding a party or get together to go to with? That person magically fades away. The convenience of you being down the road is no longer an option and that person has now found a new acquaintance who has replaced you. Your genuine friends will continue to invite you to be a part of whatever and most will plan to spend time with you or come see you.

2. You no longer have a close-minded perception of everything.

I remember going to a grocery store and hearing the small town gossip from aisle to aisle. I remember how one sided most issues were and if you weren’t on board, your opinion was irrelevant. Now I can go to the store and not know a single person and have an opinion about anything I want and not have to worry about being shunned.

3. You suddenly turn into a mystery.

This one is great. People will start wondering where you went or what you’ve been up to. When I call my parents, I always get a good laugh from the conversations they’ve had with others who wonder what I’m up to. My favorite quote that relates to this is, “The less you reveal, the more people can wonder.”

4.You are suddenly a nobody in your new community, and it’s great.

I have a bad habit of trying to avoid people I know, so when I go into stores or do anything in public, I love being a nobody. I love being able to do all of my grocery shopping without being interrupted or asked about school.

5. You appreciate the small hometown things more.

I’m not going to lie I cringe thinking about making a trip home, but that pizza place I had 4 times a week and those margaritas that my friends and I would gulp down when celebrating everything from a birthday to making it through a rough day at work suddenly become luxury items. You enjoy those country cruises and those salty fries so much more when you’re away.

6. You start to find yourself.

I left this one for last because it’s by far the most important thing that’s happened to me. I got stuck thinking I needed to be married by 22 and have a family by the time I was 27. I finally have a bucket list that involves so much more than beating my best friend in a keg stand at the annual town bonfire. I have found who I am through solely relying on me and the things that make me happy.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my home town. It’s made me who I am today, but even if it’s only for six months, escape your small town. Don’t wait until it’s too late. It’s great out here!

Crash of hockey team’s bus leaves at least 15 dead, town devastated

May 15, 2019

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14 killed after bus carrying hockey team collides with truck

Canadian hockey team on bus included players ages 16-20; Bryan Llenas shares latest details.

A western Canadian town of about 6,000 people was left devastated after learning that a bus carrying the town’s junior hockey team had collided with a semi-truck while traveling to a playoff game, resulting in at least 15 deaths.

At least 14 others on the bus were injured in the Friday crash, police confirmed. 

The Broncos of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, were on their way to a game when their team bus crashed, killing at least 15 people, authorities said.  (Twitter)

Most of those killed were likely the players on the Humboldt Broncos hockey team, who were between 16 and 20 years old — though the Royal Canadian Mounted Police [RCMP] would not specify how many of the fatalities were players.

CBC News reported the team’s head coach, Darcy Haugan, was one of the people killed in the incident. Haugan’s wife, Christina, confirmed his death to reporters.

Breaking: Humboldt Broncos head coach Darcy Haugan has been identified as one of 14 victims who died when their junior hockey team bus collided with another vehicle on Friday. https://t.co/7NwVs7f1RZpic.twitter.com/rocEvSgroM

— CBC British Columbia (@cbcnewsbc) April 7, 2018

“My brother didn’t make it…” Haugan’s sister tweeted.

My brother didn’t make it…

— invisigirlonfire (@DebbieJayneC) April 7, 2018

Police did not immediately release the names of the deceased and there was no mention of the truck driver.

President Trump tweeted Saturday that he spoke to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and sent his condolences to the victims of the crash. 

Just spoke to @JustinTrudeau to pay my highest respect and condolences to the families of the terrible Humboldt Team tragedy. May God be with them all!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2018

“Just spoke to Justin Trudeau to pay my highest respect and condolences to the families of the terrible Humboldt team tragedy. May God be with them all!” Trump tweeted. 

The team’s president said he was “shocked” and devastated by the crash. 

This picture was just sent to us by a witness at the Humboldt Broncos crash. STARS dispatched, RCMP on scene. #sask#SJHLpic.twitter.com/vp4jbC8pUz

— Chris Vandenbreekel (@Vandecision) April 7, 2018

“We are just in utter disbelief and shock at the loss that’s fallen upon us,” Kevin Garinger, president of the Humboldt Broncos team, told CBC. He said he first learned of the accident through a phone call from a fan.

“Our organization will never be the same,” Garinger told the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.

People pay their respects at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos.  (AP)

Police said overnight that the bus had been carrying 29 occupants, including the driver.

Authorities said the crash occurred on Highway 35 in Tisdale, Saskatchewan, about 5 p.m. local time. The town is about 1,300 miles from San Francisco. 

The Broncos were on their way to Game 5 of the semi-finals against the Nipawin Hawks. Nipawin is about 164 miles from Saskatoon. After receiving word of the crash, the Hawks announced on Facebook that the game had been canceled.

Myles Shumlanski, father of Broncos player Nick Shumlanski, told the Saskatoon Star Phoenix he went to the scene after getting a call from his son.

Words can not describe the loss that we feel tonight.

From a grieving province, thank you to first responders & medical professionals for courageous response under the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

Tonight, we all must pray for these families.https://t.co/dEnhKMkDxJ

— Scott Moe (@PremierScottMoe) April 7, 2018

“It was a disaster,” he said. “We had a crane lifting the bus.”

Derek Grayson and Nick bonding and healing in hospital pic.twitter.com/DzesIoT27B

— R J patter (@rjpatter) April 7, 2018

Derek Patter, one of the players who survived the crash, was photographed holding hands with two other players in the hospital. Patter’s father shared the image on social media.

Tom Straschnitzki told CBC News his son, Ryan, was injured in the crash.

“He’s alive and breathing, and from what we know he has a broken back, and as of now, can’t feel anything from his waist down,” Straschnitzki said.

A sign honored the members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team.  (AP)

Trudeau expressed his sympathy to the Humboldt community in a tweet, saying he was “unable to imagine” what the team’s parents must be going through.

Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench told CBC he was devastated.

“It’s going to hit the community hard,” he said. “It’s not a good day for Humboldt.”

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe tweeted that there were no words to describe the loss.

“To the City of Humboldt, the entire Broncos organization, and the families impacted by this tragedy, please know you are in Saskatchewan’s hearts,” he wrote. “Tonight we must pray for these families.”

A photo of the arena where the Humboldt Broncos play in Saskatchewan, Canada.  (AP)

The Nipawin Apostolic Church was serving as gathering place for families to receive more information as it became available, the RCMP said.

“We just opened our building here with food and drinks … they can come if they need somewhere to go or someone to talk to,” Nipawin Apostolic Church Pastor Jordan Gadsby told the Star Phoenix. “There’s not a lot of confirmed information at this point. Families are just waiting to hear from their kids.

“There’s a lot of tears.”

Penn Lee, the spokeswoman for the town of Humboldt, said grief counselors are available.

“Everybody is just so devastated. These poor young boys,” Lee said.

We send condolence, comfort and strength to all affected by the devastating crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ team bus. pic.twitter.com/VScEay6sZv

— NHL (@NHL) April 7, 2018

Much of the hockey world issued messages of condolences, including National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman.

“The NHL mourns the passing of those who perished and offers strength and comfort to those injured while traveling to play and be part of a game they all love,” Bettman said in a statement.

Fox News’ Kathleen Joyce and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kane Brown Reunites Military Families In Tear-Filled “Homesick” Video – Country Music Nation

May 13, 2019

For his brand new video, this popular country music artist showed one of the most bittersweet sides a military family often faces during their time serving the country: a long-awaited homecoming.

Kane Brown has been a vocal supporter of our nation’s military and often expressed his gratitude for servicemen and women. In this truly beautiful music video, he doubled-down on that promise with a vast collection of beautiful reunion videos and a dedication to the men and women of our armed forces.

Notre Dame basketball player surprised by military brother in emotional reunion | @FoxNewsInsiderhttps://t.co/31gBbZzd5Qpic.twitter.com/3eQcyRabkR

— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) December 21, 2016

His video, for “Homesick” is one of the first for his forthcoming record Experiment which will debut later this fall in early November.

Submitted videos include never-before-seen heart-wrenching moments and even some that have gained national media attention.

Among the latter is a story about a Notre Dame basketball player who was surprised on-court by his brother’s return and they broke down in tears as he raced across the court to hug him.

Matt Farrell thought his brother was coming home from Afghanistan in February… he was wrong. pic.twitter.com/kp8GVik7Si

— Notre Dame MBB (@NDmbb) December 20, 2016

As the roll of film clips play at various parts of the video, Brown is filmed in front of a helicopter in a hangar with a group of California Army National Guard members surrounding him and his band watching him sing this heartfelt new song.

YouTube/Kane Brown

Watch Kane Brown’s latest music video that was created as a tribute to our nation’s heroes below and share with us your thoughts and feelings below.

These 35 Cities Have Local Plans To Solve Global Problems

May 12, 2019

In June 2017, Bloomberg Philanthropies launched a $200 million effort called the American Cities Initiative with the goal of funding new ways for city leaders to collaborate with each other and improve their residents’ lives.

Making metro-level progress (and collectively) is becoming harder but perhaps more vital. States may preempt local decisions around minimum wage boosts, gun control, and sanctuary city policies. Technology has been rapidly changing how fundamental services (like transportation) once worked. And the federal government has abdicated responsibility for funding some basic health and social services while walking away from the global goal of fixing climate change.

To battle that, Bloomberg funded a domestic version of the Mayor’s Challenge, one of the funder’s long-running international programs, which typically asks city leaders in some global region to compete for funding by submitting bold solutions to their most pressing issues.

[Photo: Abbie Bernet/Unsplash]

The contest will eventually award one winning city $5 million to implement its idea, along with giving an additional $1 million to four runners-up. So far, Bloomberg has narrowed the pool of 320 applicants down to 35 so-called “Champion Cities,” all of whom will receive up to $100,000 in grant funding to rapidly prototype their radical ideas.

Each place has six months to build, test, and reshape their application again based on lessons learned, before Bloomberg announces the grand prize winners in October.

But Bloomberg is already learning more from its early review of the top candidates. James Anderson, the head of Bloomberg’s Government Innovation programs, calls the submissions an “incredible snapshot” of metro leaders’ “priorities and what’s keeping them up at night” along with how they’d like to solve that insomnia.

Nearly one-third of those selected were about adapting to climate change, especially the increased risk of natural disasters. Officials in Charleston, South Carolina, for instance, foresee the need for a specially tailored emergency alert system now that coastal floods often swamp the city. Another top priority is healthcare, with battling opioid addition a fairly common thread. In Huntington, West Virginia, where overdoses are 10 times more common than elsewhere, according to Bloomberg-compiled proposal summaries, city leaders want to attach mental healthcare workers to emergency response crews, both for the sake of drug addicts in need and those who might have “compassion fatigue” from dealing with so many crises.

Another problem being addressed in novel ways is Los Angeles’s plan to incentivize homeowners to build an “accessory dwelling” rental unit on their property, in exchange for allowing folks who are homeless (and receiving other support services) to live for three years after construction. “When you read these 35 applications, mayors are saying data matters, mayors are engaging citizens, and they are very focused on collaboration,” says Anderson. Those are three messages that I think America really needs to hear right now.”

The last time the competition was located in the United States, civic leaders developed several concepts that other cities have expressed interest in or are currently replicating. That includes Santa Monica, California’s Well Being Index that ranks whether residents feel “happy, healthy, and connected to the community” in their daily lives to drive reforms around areas where the city is coming up short, and a Providence, Rhode Island, project to encourage parents in low-income households to be more conversational with their young children as a way to bridge verbal and word recognition gaps that can hamper later learning. (This involves an actual word counting device that also measures the ebbs and flows of conversations.)

In the past, Bloomberg worried less about ensuring that all finalists walked away with a prototype in hand, focusing more on a “stretching and strengthening phase” to refine any theoretical gaps in the logic, application, and implementation of some suggestions. That’s transitioned more to a learn-by-doing mentality.

“Part of our goal here is to make sure that even those cities that don’t win the million dollar implementation award have a rock-solid proposal that they’ve field tested and prototyped with key constituents,” says Anderson. “So that they are well positioned to begin finding additional support.” Anderson didn’t share specifics, but Bloomberg could likely also help with that.

How VTB Capital ruined a country

May 11, 2019

We are able to charge for the increased risk. VTB Capital is an emerging market bank and we are prepared to do business other banks won’t do. That increases our pricing power“. This is how Alexey Yakovitsky, Global CEO at VTB Capital, explains the dubious loans and the associated high fees that left Mozambique’s economy on the verge of complete collapse. Yakovitsky is one of the driving forces behind VTB Capital’s decision to shift focus to Africa (notably Mozambique and Uganda) and Asia (India in particular).

Mozambique’s default

Mozambique, which used to be one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, has been pushed into default. In 2013 and 2014, three state-owned Mozambican firms with no revenue miraculously managed to attract $2 billion from two international banks: Russian bank VTB Group and Swiss bank Credit Suisse Group AG. The loans, which were given in secret, were then guaranteed by the Mozambique government.

VTB Capital and Credit Suisse charged very high fees. The banks took 10 percent of the loans, earning a total of $199.7 million in “contractor fees” and “arrangement fees”.

The revelation of the 2013 secret loans (equivalent to about half the national budget) shocked the country, the IMF and donors. Mozambique defaulted on the loans in 2017.

VTB dealt with Mozambique’s intelligence agency

The Mozambican companies are ProIndicus S.A., Empresa Moçambicana de Atum S.A. (EMATUM) and Mozambique Asset Management S.A. (MAM). They are all owned by the Mozambique government and run by SISE, the State Security Information Services.

The official purpose of the loans was to purchase naval equipment and a tuna fishing fleet. Mozambique’s intelligence agency presented the project as “a matter of national security” and, as a result, the government issued a state guarantee. SISE claimed “national security” as justification for the secrecy of the loan agreements too.

The loans were signed off in London by Antonio Carlos do Rosario. Do Rosario was both the President of the Administration Board of the companies and the head of SISE’s economic unit. A SISE bank account was used to make interest payments to the banks.

Other senior members of ProIndicus, EMATUM and MAM were either employed by or connected to the national intelligence agency.

VTB’s partner in Abu Dhabi

Mozabique’s security service contracted Privinvest, an Abu Dhabi-based offshore group, as primary supplier of goods and services for the three companies.

An independent audit by the corporate investigations company Kroll (https://www.open.ac.uk/) concluded that Privinvest played a major role in the VTB-Mozambique deal. The Abu Dhabi group introduced VTB Capital as a lender, arranged the loan agreements, contracted with the companies and the government to restructure the loan agreements. Moreover, the money never reached Mozambique because the banks sent it straight to the contractor’s account in the United Arab Emirates.

Goods and services, mainly boats, were overpriced and the items never became fully operational. Negligible operating revenue has been generated.

For example, Mozambique Asset Management (MAM) signed a $535 million loan agreement with VTB Capital in May 2014. The loan agreement was arranged by a Privinvest Group company and guaranteed for the full amount by the government of Mozambique. MAM agreed arrangement fees of $35 million with VTB Capital. The total loan proceeds remaining after the deduction of arrangement fees was USD 500 million. This amount was paid to the Privinvest’s account in the United Arab Emirates.

According to Kroll, the MAM business plan stated that the company expected to generate $63.7 million in operating revenues at the end of 2015. By June 2017, when Kroll concluded its report, MAM had generated $25,000.

Mozambicans pay the price

The $2 billion loan arrangement has been a disaster. The government’s default on the state-backed loans hit Mozambicans hard. People have been paying the price for the dubious loans. The government reduced oil and bread subsidies. The Mozambique currency fell by over 40% and inflation soared.

According to Kroll’s report, state companies failed to account for at least a quarter of the $2billion in contentious loans: “At least USD 500 million of expenditure of a potentially sensitive nature remains unexplained.”

Despite evidence of massive corruption, Mozambique’s authorities are extremely reluctant to expose those responsible for the debt scandal. For their part, VTB Capital maintains they have done nothing wrong in Mozambique and are currently focusing on their partnership with Ruia family in India. However, regulators in the US, UK and Switzerland are investigating VTB Capital and Credit Suisse for their roles in the secret loans that ruined Mozambique. (https://www.oligarchsinsider.com/)